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Public Mural by Noted Mosaic Artist Max Spivak Uncovered, Only to be Hidden Again

spivak-mural-jpg-nytA mosaic mural from the 1950’s by noted mosaic artist Max Spivak was recently uncovered in the heart of the Garment District as renovations began on 5 Bryant Park. The delightful mural, in the spirit of Juan Miro, depicts the tools of garment makers and enlivens the large façade entrance of the corporate tower. Unfortunately, hours after a New York Times report detailed the mural’s discovery, sheeting was erected to obscure the mural from public view. According to the owner of the tower, the discovery of the mural was “unexpected” and the work would be “covered during the renovation in a way that will preserve it for the future.” “It’s as if the owners moved ahead at high speed to beat all the positive reaction,” said Phyllis Cohen, the director of Adopt-a-Monument/Adopt-a-Mural at the Municipal Art Society. “The glass mosaic murals from the late 1940s to 1960s are treasures that need to be preserved,” she said. Two different Max Spivak murals are preserved, thanks to the work of the Adopt-a-Mural program at MAS: a pair of WPA oil in canvas murals, 1938, at the Astoria branch of the Queens library, and a 1948 mosaic mural currently on display at a Ben and Jerry’s shop on the Upper West Side. Excerpted and adapted from the original New York Times article by David Dunlap.